Oba Ewuare II, the King of Benin (current Edo State, Nigeria) has ordered native doctors of Edo State to revoke all of the curses and oaths placed on victims of trafficking, himself invoking a curse on all those native doctors who continue to force or coerce victims into taking oaths.
This important event took place on 9th March during a ceremony, held in the Royal Palace of Benin City, to which many priests and native doctors were invited, as well as representatives from NAPTIP, the government agency which works to tackle human trafficking and members of the government task force that is fighting against trafficking. Iroko is an active member of this task force (here are some pictures from the ceremony taken by representatives of the task force).
We are very happy to receive and share this news update, which is in line with the work that we have been doing for some time alongside the Obaseki administration against trafficking.
In Italy alone more than 60% of the Nigerian women who arrive here are from Edo State.
From this point onwards all of those who have lived in fear and felt a duty to repay huge debts in order to respect the oaths taken, can feel free from this fear because every type of oath has been revoked, as Oba Ewuare II, an important spiritual leader, has said.
Thus the king has, for the first time, acknowledged the link between trafficking and oath ceremonies, to which many Nigerians have been subjected before departing for Europe duty-bound to repay their debts. In their quest to keep their promise, many Nigerian women fall into a trap of prostitution.
The king specified that this act is not against the traditional practices of native doctors, but against those among them who use juju and similar practices for the purpose of encouraging trafficking.
The king’s pronouncement therefore plays not only a religious role, but also a strongly political one, in a historic moment when the Edo State government is at the forefront in the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration, which are modern forms of slavery.
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